“Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” (Matthew 6:21, NLT)
Do you feel comfortable talking about money with your spouse or significant other? If not, you’re not alone; disagreements about money are one of the most often-cited factors in divorces and breakups. How you think about money says a lot about how you see the world, and talking about it with the person you share your life with is essential.
Your attitudes about money arise from a combination of your past experiences and your own ideals and values. There are three basic differences that tend to arise between couples:
- Differences in upbringing. If your parents are wealthy, you’ll have a vastly different attitude about money than someone from a family that lives paycheck to paycheck. If money was a constant source of conflict for your parents, you may bring a fear of talking about it to your current relationships.
- Differences in outlook and values. Are you a conspicuous consumer, a back-to-basics minimalist, or somewhere in between? Does your sense of self-worth depend on how much you have on deposit or the brands in your closet? How important is it to you to tithe, to give to charity, to go on expensive vacations?
- Differences in long-term goals. Do you value saving for retirement? Do you want to travel the world in your golden years, or to set aside money for your children’s education? Or have you never really thought about it?
Whatever your money differences, honest and God-honoring communication is key to helping your relationship succeed. What matters most is that you both feel your needs and concerns are met.
Working together can help ensure neither of you feels resentful or left out of financial decisions. If one of you would like to stay home with your children, how can you best steward your financial resources to make that happen? How much house can you afford? Can you draw up a household budget and long-term plans that will please you both? Bringing in an impartial financial advisor can help you make these big decisions and smooth the way to building a successful relationship that can ride out financial setbacks.
Set aside some time that works for both of you, perhaps in a neutral location like a coffee shop or a park, to talk about finances and your long-term goals. Share your own story and feelings honestly, and above all, try to be flexible. You’re in this together!
How you think about and how you handle money reveal what is most important to you—your values, your goals, your outlook on life. Like many other aspects of a relationship, money management requires regular attention. Make sure to check up with each other about whether you’re both still feeling informed and empowered about your part in the family finances. Together, whatever your financial circumstances, you can create abundance and a joyous life.
And remember, there’s no one right way to handle money in a relationship—the best arrangement is the one that works for both of you and helps you both feel you are moving together toward a common goal.
This article should not be considered legal, tax, or financial advice. You may wish to consult a tax or financial advisor about your individual financial situation.